In what is sure to be the event of the summer, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have decided to make 2012 the year of their Bucharest debut. Even after being together for nearly 30 years and hitting countless international destinations, the August 31st date at the National Arena will mark the first time that the band brings their unique blend of rock, funk, hip hop, and metal to the country of Romania. As such, ticket sales for the upcoming event have been literally on fire, with less than 2,000 tickets estimated to remain for the last few weeks before the concert. For anyone planning a trip to Bucharest to take part in the band’s “I’m With You” tour, there are a few things to keep in mind.
In a surprise move, the venue for the RHCP concert will not be RomExpo or Piata Constitutiei as is usually the case for major stars. Instead, the National Arena will be used for the first time as a host for an international concert. With a capacity of more than 55,000 attendants, it is likely that the event will be sold out by the time the band hits the stage. The impressive size of the National Arena means that fans should make it a point to arrive early to make sure they have enough time to navigate the enormous crowd and find their seats.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the most recognizable bands on the planet and are one of the few groups that has managed the impressive feat of growing in stature each and every year. With a catalog of ten albums dating back to 1984, the big break for RHCP was their seminal 1991 album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which served as a widespread introduction to a new sound in the alternative music world. Their newest album, I’m With You, is quickly garnering critical acclaim even though it is the first in more than a decade to be released without longtime guitarist John Frusciante.
As with most major rock events, RHCP will not be the only band in the lineup for the night’s festivities and the opening groups should not be overlooked. One of the three bands to be sharing the stage with RHCP is Sleigh Bells, a dynamic duo that has been getting rave reviews for their 2012 album, Reign of Terror, which earned an impressive 8.2 rating from Pitchfork Media. Balancing the dynamic between soft and loud will be fellow opener Santigold, a genre-mixing artist that often combines reggae, new wave, and pop elements in her tunes. Last but not least, Swedish electronica act Little Dragon will be adding their downtempo music into the mix.
Staying in Bucharest
Being a capital city with around 2 million inhabitants, there are plenty of accommodation options for a person coming to the “Paris of the East.” Upscale hotels abound in the central area of the city and some strong choices are the Radisson Blue, Hilton Palace Athenee, and the Intercontinental. For a more local choice, a person may want to check out Rembrandt Hotel in the historical district or Hotel Capsa, the latter of which has a storied history of guests that include diplomats, artists, and many other VIPs.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the hostel scene in Bucharest that has literally exploded in recent years. Standouts that have been in business from the beginning include the Midland Hostel at Piata Amzei and Doors Hostel near Piata Unirii. A newly opened location near the National Arena that may be worth a shot is Peaches Hostel. With solid early reviews, this hostel may be the best choice for someone that is only coming to town for the concert.
Between the two extremes, finding a decent Bucharest hotel at a good price can be a little difficult. A person could look for online deals to try and catch a known brand like Ramada Majestic, K+K, or NH on sale. Another option is to use some the slightly less central options that could have a substantially lower price with the same set of amenities. Some hotels that would fall into this category include the Hotel Tempo, the Marshall Hotel, or the Zava Boutique Hotel. Another cost-conscious option would be to rent an apartment for a few days from one of the many central providers. This could also be a way to cut down on eating out expenses as most come with a fully operating kitchen.
Getting To and From the Concert
Perhaps the trickiest aspect of the RHCP show will actually be getting to and from the concert. No special transport has yet to be announced, but fortunately, there are several different options for getting from the center of town to the National Arena. Taxis will be out in force and a standard fare for a trip from Universitate to the arena should cost around 10 lei, or a little more than 2 Euros, making it the best choice for groups. Just be careful to make sure the rate of 1.39 lei per kilometer is clearly displayed on the car.
For those who prefer public transport over taking taxis, the best option will depend where a person is coming from. The closest metro stop is Piata Muncii and will mean that a few minutes will be spent on foot from the metro to the arena. From Piata Romana and the Gara de Nord area, the 86 trolleybus will be the best bet as it runs directly to the stadium. The same is true of the 104 bus, which makes a stop at Piata Unirii in the center of town. Coming back, the only public transport option will be the 102 night bus, which will end in Piata Unirii where other bus connections can be made.
However a person chooses where to stay and how to get to and from the show, the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert on August 31st should definitely not be missed.